Latest from Hong Kong
  Chief Executive addresses business sector on opportunities brought about by the 14th Five-Year Plan
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mrs Carrie Lam, addressed more than 200 members of the local and international business community on 3 June at a webinar hosted by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce under its 160th anniversary distinguished speakers series. She highlighted the tremendous opportunities presented by the “Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035” (the 14th Five-Year Plan) approved by the National People’s Congress earlier this year, and encouraged businesses to contribute to and benefit from the national blueprint and action agenda. Mrs Lam took members through the content in the 14th Five-Year Plan that concerned Hong Kong, although she suggested that one should actually refer to the entire Plan to appreciate the many opportunities available in the development strategies in the coming years. She highlighted that the Hong Kong and Macao chapter contained, first and foremost, the fundamental principles that would contribute to the long-term prosperity and stability of the two special administrative regions. Mrs Lam also pointed out the positioning of Hong Kong as set out in the 14th Five-Year Plan, which reflected the full support and recognition of the Central Authorities for Hong Kong.

Details here.

Chief Executive promotes Hong Kong as arts and cultural hub
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, met with representatives of Mainland and overseas art galleries via a webinar on 7 June. She briefed them on Hong Kong’s growing competitive edge as an international arts and cultural hub, and that it is the best time for them to expand their presence in the city. Mrs Lam said that Hong Kong has all along been an East-meets-West hub for international arts and cultural exchanges. To promote cultural co-operation, Hong Kong has signed memoranda of understanding on cultural co-operation with 20 countries which facilitate cultural activities such as staff exchanges, education, training, research and business matching. Mrs Lam also noted that Hong Kong has been investing heavily in upgrading existing cultural hardware and building new facilities. The M+ Museum and the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District, which are expected to be commissioned at the end of this year and in the middle of next year respectively, together with the renovated and expanded Hong Kong Museum of Art, will be cultural landmarks by the Victoria Harbour. She pointed out that Hong Kong's position will be further boosted by the 14th Five-Year Plan in which Hong Kong, for the first time, is encouraged to develop into a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.

Details here.

Chief Executive attends Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited’s 21st Listing Anniversary Celebrations
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, attended the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited 21st Listing Anniversary Celebrations on 16 June. Mrs Lam said this year marks the beginning of our country's 14th Five-Year Plan, which supports Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre, as well as a global offshore renminbi business hub, international asset-management centre and risk-management centre. The 14th Five-Year Plan also endorses the expansion of mutual access between the financial markets of Hong Kong and the Mainland. To stay ahead of the game, especially in a highly competitive sector like finance, Hong Kong need to stay alert, seize opportunities timely, innovate continuously and apply technology vigorously. In this term of the HKSAR Government, Mrs Lam has been advocating new roles for the Government that go beyond the conventional regulatory and service provision functions. The relevant bureaux and public bodies have to play the roles of a facilitator and a promoter.

Details here.
Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme
To encourage and support young people to work and pursue their career in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, announced in the 2020 Policy Address the launch of the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme (the Scheme) to encourage enterprises with operation in both Hong Kong and the GBA to recruit and deploy local university/ tertiary institution graduates to work in the Mainland cities of the GBA. The GBA, being one of the most open and economically vibrant regions in Mainland China, has many opportunities to offer and has huge development potential and will provide young people with more and greater room for development. The Scheme will provide 2 000 places, around 700 of which are designated for innovation and technology posts. Hong Kong residents holding bachelor's degrees or above awarded by local universities/ tertiary institutions or universities/ tertiary institutions outside Hong Kong in 2019 to 2021 are eligible to join the Scheme.

Details here.
Hong Kong ranked seventh in World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021
Hong Kong was ranked seventh globally in the latest World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2021 published by the International Institute for Management Development, compared to fifth last year. Switzerland was ranked top, followed by Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Singapore and Norway. Among the four competitiveness factors in WCY 2021, Hong Kong continued to rank top in “Government efficiency”, while the rankings in “Economic performance”, “Business efficiency” and “Infrastructure” were slightly lower than those in the previous report. As regards the sub-factors, Hong Kong continued to top the ranking in “Business legislation”. Hong Kong’s rankings in “International trade”, “Tax policy”, “Finance” and “Management practices” also remained in the top-three positions globally.

Details here.
HKSAR Government strongly refutes the remarks contained in latest UK Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong
The HKSAR Government objects to the inaccurate remarks on Hong Kong in the United Kingdom Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong released on 10 June. The HKSAR is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China, a local administrative region that enjoys a high degree of autonomy under “one country, two systems” and comes directly under the Central People’s Government (CPG). To uphold and implement the principle of “one country, two systems” meets the interests of the Hong Kong people, responds to the needs of maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and serves the fundamental interests of the nation. The CPG has time and again made it clear that it will unswervingly implement the policy of “one country, two systems”, and repeatedly urged foreign parties to stop intervening in Hong Kong affairs. Foreign governments should not attempt to interfere in the HKSAR’s affairs under international laws and basic principles of non-intervention.

Details here.
Government welcomes passage of Inland Revenue (Amendment) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, welcomed the passage of the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 by the Legislative Council on 2 June. It will implement four areas of amendments to the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112), namely the tax treatment for amalgamation of companies under the court-free procedures as provided for under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622); the tax treatment for transfer or succession of specified assets under certain circumstances; refining the statutory framework for the furnishing of tax returns; and enhancing the foreign tax deduction regime. It would also help foster a more favourable business environment, particularly reinforcing Hong Kong’s attractiveness as a banking location, and promoting Hong Kong as a research and development hub.

Details here.
Secretary for Justice attends APEC virtual Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting
The Secretary for Justice, Ms Teresa Cheng SC, attended the virtual Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2021 on 16 June to discuss the region's structural policy response to COVID-19 under the overarching theme of structural reform and recovery from economic shocks. Speaking at the session on exploring how a green recovery can support structural reform for sustainable economic growth and recovery from economic shocks, Ms Cheng stated that for economic development to be sustainable, it is important to have a comprehensive legal framework and good regulatory practices conducive to sustainable growth. She highlighted the "Vision 2030 for Rule of Law" launched by the Department of Justice last year, an initiative inspired by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Details here.
Target date of inaugural flights under HK-Singapore Air Travel Bubble to be reviewed in early July
The Governments of HKSAR and Singapore will review in early July the target date of inaugural flights under the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB), taking into account the latest development of the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Singapore which has been stabilizing since early June. A spokesman for the HKSAR Government said the two governments have been closely monitoring the epidemic situation in both places, including the effectiveness of the anti-epidemic measures implemented by the Singapore Government in response to the latest epidemic development. The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, has been in regular dialogue with the Minister for Transport of the Republic of Singapore, Mr S Iswaran. Both consider that it is prudent to keep the developments under review to ensure the epidemic situation is sufficiently stable before deciding in early July on the way forward for the ATB. The spokesman stressed that both governments remain strongly committed to launching the ATB with a view to resuming air travel between the two regional aviation hubs and international cities in a gradual and orderly manner under a set of stringent public health protocols.

Details here.
Government announces details of Consumption Voucher Scheme
The Government announced today that the Consumption Voucher Scheme will open for registration on 4 July. Hong Kong permanent residents and new arrivals aged 18 or above on or before 18 June this year, and residing in Hong Kong, may register to receive electronic consumption vouchers with a total value of HK$5,000 by instalments. The Consumption Voucher Scheme website will be open for electronic registration from 6am (HK Time) on 4 July. Those who choose to register using paper form may put the forms into the designated drop boxes from 5 July during office hours. The registration period will last for six weeks until 14 August. The consumption vouchers have a wide coverage, covering in general all local retail, catering and service outlets and their online platforms, as well as taking public transport.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic measures
  • Government announced the relaxation of social distancing measures effective until 7 July.
    • Prohibition on group gatherings of more than four persons in public places will continue.
    • Mandatory mask-wearing requirement will continue.
    • For catering businesses, the maximum number of customers will be relaxed to 75% of the normal seating capacity of the premises.
    • Number of participants allowed at wedding ceremonies, shareholders' annual meetings of listed companies and religious activities will be increased to half of the relevant venues’ capacity starting from June 24.
    • Gatherings and meetings will be allowed to proceed at the venues’ full capacity, as long as two-thirds of the participants have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Prohibition on group gatherings of more than four people in public places will remain.

  • Government announced on 10 June the expansion of the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme by lowering the minimum age for receiving the BioNTech vaccine from 16 to 12.

  • Government specified Colombia and Korea from Group C specified places to Group B specified places with effect from 18 June.

  • Government announced from 25 June, all passenger flights from Indonesia will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong. Indonesia will also at the same time be specified as an extremely high-risk Group A1 specified place to restrict persons who have stayed in that place for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong, so as to stop persons from the relevant place from travelling to Hong Kong via transit.

  • Government announced on 28 June the invocation of the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for the United Kingdom. From 1 July, all passenger flights from the UK will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong. The UK will also at the same time be specified as an extremely high-risk Group A1 specified place to restrict persons who have stayed in that place for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong, so as to stop persons from the relevant place from travelling to Hong Kong via transit.

  • Hong Kong residents and non-Hong Kong residents arriving from Australia, New Zealand will require compulsory quarantine at designated quarantine hotels for 14 days. Persons who have been fully vaccinated, will be subject to compulsory quarantine for 7 days.

  • Government announced on 21 June that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and with a positive result of serology testing for antibodies will be allowed a shortened compulsory quarantine period of seven days upon arrival. The restriction from entry to Hong Kong will be relaxed for fully vaccinated non-Hong Kong residents who have not stayed in extremely high-risk (Group A1) or very high-risk (Group A2) specified places.

  • Government plans to allow non-Hong Kong residents who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccination record and who have only stayed in Group B specified places, Group C specified places or Taiwan to enter Hong Kong. Such travellers must comply with the same quarantine and nucleic acid testing requirements as those applicable to Hong Kong residents.
Read more from the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
  Way In Women’s Empowerment Series – Safety Awareness
The Director of HKETO Sydney, Ms Winnie Chan, along with Deputy Director, Mr Henry Mak, attended the Women’s Empowerment Series – Safety Awareness organised by the Way In Network on 16 June at Hong Kong House. The event promoted the importance of women’s safety in various topics and shared the reporting and preventative measures to ensure general women’s safety. Speaking to the guests, Ms Chan introduced the work of HKETO Sydney, and various events to promote and strengthen Hong Kong's ties with Australia and New Zealand and relations with the local community.

More information here.
Upcoming events
  International Arts Carnival 2021 (Hong Kong and online)
The annual summer festival International Arts Carnival (IAC) is a tailor-made arts festival for children and their families. Featuring various groups of outstanding overseas and local artists each year, the IAC presents fun-filled online and stage programmes with unlimited intelligence which covers musical, drama, puppetry, circus, music and multimedia theatre to widen the audience’s artistic vision and induce children’s infinite imagination wherever they are in or out of the theatres. IAC 2021 will be held from 9 July to 15 August.

More information here.
  Black Box Chinese Opera Festival 2021 (Hong Kong)
The annual Black Box Chinese Opera Festival highlights original productions offering new perspectives on the history, evolution and potential future of Chinese opera, and brings together emerging artists from mainland China and Hong Kong. Aiming to inspire and facilitate exchange between emerging practitioners as part of the network of regional experimental Chinese opera festivals, the Festival is an important part of the Xiqu Centre’s mission to preserve tradition, foster creativity and extend the reach of a heritage art form. The Festival this year will be held from 7 October to 13 November. Award-winning original local commissions and productions by regional troupes showcase breakthroughs in artistic and stage innovation, giving audiences a glimpse of the diversity and vitality of Chinese opera.

More information here.
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